Bill Duncan OAM likes to call himself ‘a man of many hats’. Why? He is dedicated to volunteering for good causes. He was awarded the OAM in 2014 for service to business and community.
Bill’s volunteering started after being in the school cadets at Marist Brothers College, Darlinghurst at 16. In the school holidays, senior boys came back to the school to assist the student cadets and this dedication motivated Bill to involve himself in community volunteering. His interest in military matters continued when he joined the Sydney University Regiment. He met his future wife Pat there, who came from a family with a history of military service dating back to her grandfather in WWI. Bill served for 20 years in Australia’s Army Reserve, was a scout leader and has held interesting positions in the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for over 20 years and 10 years in Marine Rescue.
Bella Vista Farm: Where history and nature meet.
Bill gives pro bono talks to clubs, community groups and schools about the ‘ANZAC Spirit’; mentoring youth; volunteering roles and RFS matters. Kenthurst RFS has been running award-winning training workshops for residents for the past 10 years and 600 locals have now been put through the course. These courses are conducted at Kenthurst RFS Station and in a paddock on Bill’s property. Property protection preparation is so critical in the current extreme temperatures.
Bill designed Glenwarrie, his beloved home, in the colonial style. He is a lover of antique furniture and artwork and has a collection of original farm machinery which he has painstakingly restored. His present project is a beautiful 1886 Australian cedar sulky. Glenwarrie captures so much of an early era with much grandeur but with the warmth and charm of a happy home. Much birdlife is present, the magpie family visits first, then kookaburras, butcher birds and rosellas.
Not only does Bill spend time researching and reading history, he also writes and recently wrote 75 Years of Service Protecting Our Community 1942-2017, a soft-cover book on the Kenthurst Rural Fire Brigade.
Bill has had a varied career, hence the reference to ‘many hats’. He began as a high school teacher, went into education publishing, trained as a barrister and has held significant positions in industry, community and government organisations. In the year 2000, Bill worked as project manager with the NSW Paralympic Committee and from 2005 to 2009 was recommended by the Hon.
Alan Cadman OAM, Member of the House of Representatives, to Chair the Greater Sydney Area Consultative Committee (ACC), the largest in Australia, established by the Federal government and headed by the former Deputy Prime Minister the Hon John Anderson AC. This committee engaged directly with community and stakeholder groups on approved NSW projects. One such project, “The Mamre Shed”, was a partnership with TAFE NSW and the Sisters of Mercy, initially a teaching Order.
Over the years, the Sisters focussed on social issues getting more involved with the settling of refugees. Refugees from the Sudan were given the opportunity of education in landscaping, market gardening and commercial agriculture which was close to their natural skillset as they had come from agricultural areas in their country.
Bill has recently been welcomed as a new and valued Friend of Bella Vista Farm. With his knowledge and interest in history, he is perfect to fill the role as a tour guide at Bella Vista Farm. He loves the Farm and you can look forward to meeting him along with other Friends of the Farm the first Sunday of each month (except January) and enjoy a most rewarding and rich historical experience.
Bella Vista Farm, corner of Elizabeth Macarthur Drive and Norwest Boulevard, Bella Vista. For more information go to www.thehills.nsw.gov.au